This Week’s Links

Internet1Tuesday means that it’s time to share with you some of what I have found interesting in the past week.  This week’s topic categories are:  Church and Ministry Thought & Practice; Cross-Sector Collaboration; Leadership Thought & Practice; Neighbor Love; Stewardship; Vocation; Worship; and Miscellaneous. I entrust these links to you now, and hope you enjoy them and find them thought-provoking.

Church and Ministry Thought & Practice

We’ll start with this hard hitting, honest, and very important reflection by my wife Allison Siburg responding to the overly uttered question heard in many congregations, “how do we get more young adults?” Please read this, you will be glad you did!

If you are thinking about potential conferences to attend over the summer, or in the coming months, you might be interested in this invitation from the Praxis Team to their upcoming conference in June that will be held in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

If that conference doesn’t quite fit the bill, perhaps Faith-Forward might?  Brian McLaren shared 10 reasons to come, if that list might help convince you.

Last week pastor Cynthia Lapp asked, “Do women cause the church anxiety?” It’s an interesting question and reflection. Give it a read, and see what you think.

Clifton Stringer wrote, “They were wrong when they told you not to proof-text.” This is nice little reflection on hermeneutical interpretation worth some thought.

Melissa Slocum shared, “Living for Resurrection.” You may have noticed that “Resurrection” is now a TV series. Obviously, there is a difference between the TV show and the Christian concept. This is a good reminder though of the need to be able to articulate and share what terms and ideas mean, and to be present and conversant with (or regarding) culture, and to respond to it and engage it.

Rev. Dr. David Lose asked, “Does Emma Watson offer a picture of the future?” There is some good thought and reflection here about faith and millennials in particular. Check it out.

Friend and adviser Dr. Terri Elton shared, “Church Meets the World.” As she asks, I repeat, “How is God calling you into Christian community and how is God calling you into the world?”

The Pew Research Center released findings in the past week regarding Global Religious Diversity. The results are very interesting, and well worth checking out.

As we are in the last full week before Holy Week, if you serve in some form of leadership capacity around worship or worship planning you might be looking for a little final bit of creativity or perhaps new or different perspective for Holy Week. To this end, here is a Trans Passion Narrative from Fr. Shay.

Frederick W. Schmidt reminds, “Before you celebrate Easter, get real.” There is great reflection in here about the importance of remembering and worshiping throughout Holy Week. I particularly appreciate Schmidt’s conclusion. He writes, “It’s time for the church to get real. Easter cannot mean what it should mean without fully appreciating the gravity and loss of the two days that precede it. And resurrection hope is reduced to wishful thinking when we fail to observe the spiritual gravity of the two days that precedes our celebration of the resurrection.”

Cross-Sector Collaboration

One of the many maps that show some of the details of the Social Progress Index
One of the many maps that show some of the details of the Social Progress Index

In case you didn’t see this post by Robert Reich back in March, he wrote, “The New Tribalism and the Decline of the Nation State.” I think that there are important things to think about for communities, networks, organizations and sectors in here. What do you think about this?

This might be the most interesting thing that I read and saw last week! The Social Progress Imperative released its 2014 Index. It is the result of much work and design led by Michael Porter. The index measures social progress through a number of factors including those related to basic human needs, well being, and opportunity. Check it out, and see what discoveries you make and questions that you begin to ponder. If you have particular questions that come to mind after thinking about this, I would love to hear them from you as comments, tweets, etc.

In unpacking the Social Progress Index results, Nicholas Kristof wrote, “We’re not No. 1!” What do you think?

Leadership Thought & Practice

If you are looking for a possibly good and interesting leadership podcast, check out this Servant Leadership series.

Oliver Fleurot recently asked, “Should Your Boss be Your Friend?” What do you think?

Tanveer Naseer shared, “Revealing Leadership Insights from Thinkers50” by Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove. The post is a good read, and includes three final questions which are always good to reflect on. The questions are: Do you know the key thought leaders in your area of expertise? Who else could you learn from outside your organization? Who could you learn from inside the organization?

Adi Gaskell reflected on “The delusions of leadership.” Within the reflection is a good reminder to look for and find helpful feedback.

Dan Rockwell wrote about “The surprising path to authentic impact.” Dan quotes and builds off some ideas of Brene Brown. There’s great stuff here. Including two good reflection questions:  how is vulnerability a factor in effective leadership? And, how are you navigating vulnerability on your leadership journey?

Last month Adam Canswell, Vishalli Dongrie, Neil Neveras & Heather Stockton wrote, “Leaders at all levels: close the gap between hype and readiness.”  This report unpacks the fact that “Leadership remains the top human capital concern.” Included in this report is the idea to focus on three key areas for developing leaders: develop leaders at all levels; develop global leaders locally; and develop a succession mindset.

Jon Mertz shared a guest post by Alex Strike entitled, “25 Quotes on Leadership for Millennials to Keep in Mind.” Do you like these quotes? What others might you add to the list?

Bob Tiede shared a guest post by Ron Shaich, founder and CEO of Panera Bread. The post is titled, “Want a better answer? Ask a better question.” Give this a read!

Introverts everywhere, take heart! Skip Prichard wrote, “How introverts can be great leaders.” Skip shares a number of great insights. He believes that part of the reason introverts can be such good leaders is because: they plan properly; are attentive; push themselves harder; are less risky; are analytical and rational. Give it a read. What do you think?

Jesse Lyn Stoner wrote, “Emergent Leadership Topples the Pyramid.” I see great compatibility here with other ideas of collaborative leadership, but also connective leadership. What do you think of emergent leadership?

Randy Conley shared, “4 Principles for Using Your Leadership Power.” These include a recognition that: the best use of power is in service to others; followership is just as important, if not more so, than leadership; the ego craves power; and power is held in trust. What might you add or challenge based on these principles?

Ted Coine shared, “101 Things to Never Say Again.” He started the list with 19 things. Check out the list, and see what you would add to help come to a list of 101 things.

Neighbor Love

Every once and a while a story like this appears in the news asking questions like, “Was church lightning strike a sign from God?” It leads to interesting wondering, and some times amazing and perplexing theological explanations. How might you respond to such a question?

Sarah Bessey wrote, “In which this is for the ones who stay” in the church. It’s beautiful. Give it a read, you will be glad you did.

Nate Pyle wrote a very poignant piece about the complexity and multiple perspectives people bring to reading the Bible and interpreting it. There is a lot of great stuff in this with implications on congregations, communities, and being able to hold multiple perspectives and disagreement while being in community together.

Chapter TK shared “The fires of hell and the good of humanity.” It’s a very authentic look at the wrestling involved with religion, work and service in the world, and the hope that there is goodness in the world.

Rachel Held Evans asked “What now?” This is in response to the past couple weeks’ news involving World Vision and all the pain and fallout. As Rachel asks, “So, how do we recover from the mess of last week? What do we do to grieve, to heal, to build bridges, to open up some tables, and to move on? What does it look like to find and create church among the culture war’s refugees?”  These are all great and important questions. What do you think? Where do we start?

Somewhat related to this, Jen Hatmaker shared, “Where I stand.” In this reflection in light of recent events she gives an honest explanation of what she believes and thinks, but also expresses a desire and need for more neighbors. It’s a good read in the vein of neighbor love.

Benjamin Moberg wrote, “May We Never Stop Speaking.” Benjamin asks, professes, and reminds that “God loves us all and may we never stop speaking.” This is a good read also in the vein of neighbor love.

Rachel Held Evans also shared a guest post by Micha Boyett entitled, “When the joy runs out.” Give it a read.

Out of the news regarding World Vision, more news continues to emerge. Late last week, it was announced that Jacquelline Fuller, director of corporate giving for Google, had resigned from the board because she disagreed with the decision to reverse course.

Ron Edmondson asked, “When did Christians become so mean?” Great question! There is important reflection in this, that causes me to reflect myself, and I hope it will for you as well. A related question that Ron closes with is, “If they can’t find kindness, forgiveness, love in us- where will they find it?” Important questions. I hope you will check this out.

Jay Denne reflected on the importance and need for “sharing our burdens.” It’s a good reminder of Galatians 6:2 where we are called to “bear one another’s burdens.”

In perhaps one of the most touching reads of the past week, Andrea Gardner wrote, “To the Woman behind me in line at the grocery store.” Please read this! It might just restore some hope in your fellow humanity this week (in case you need to restore that). It’s also a great testament of an example of loving your neighbor as yourself.

The United Nations had harsh words for the United States in the way it engages and deals with homeless people. If you didn’t hear this news, it might be worth checking it out.

Friend and pastor Diane Roth shared, “Poetry is Prayer/Prayer is Poetry.” There is some beautiful writing and poetry here.

The Lutheran World Foundation Youth blog shared some perspectives on worship on World Water Day in India.


Honey Maid's Response
Honey Maid’s Response

Honey Maid made the news recently, and all I can say is, I hope we all have the grace and beauty to respond to such disagreement, and perhaps even hate and intolerance in the beautiful way that Honey Maid did. If you haven’t heard about this yet, you need to check it out!

A top Mormon leader affirmed their faith’s stance and opposition to gay marriage, as well as some other perspectives.

“Can you love your neighbor as yourself and at the same time knee him in the face as hard as you can?” That was a question posed in this story about “Fight Church.” What do you think?

Friend and pastor Frank Johnson shared, “In Pilate’s house: the politics of death, and the absurd politics of new life.” It’s a great reflection built off of and grounded in John 19.

There is a book that is about to be released entitled, God and the Gay Christian. Here is one story about the book. I think I will have to read the book once it is released.

Brandan Robertson shared, “How Conservative Evangelicals Misunderstand Millennials.” To be fair, most groups misunderstand millennials, I would argue. But the points in this are important. What do you think?

Kate Taylor asked, “What happens when an atheist sees God?”

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared his sermon for the past week, “John 4:5-42 ‘Unconventional Faith & Discipleship.'”

With Palm Sunday coming on Sunday, Adam Copeland shared “Palm-powered Protest (Matthew 21:1-11).” At the end of this important reflection, Adam includes some great questions for reflection which I share with you, and hope you will read the whole reflection.  He asks, “Are there issues or situations that cause you to want to protest? How is your faith related to these causes? When do you see people of faith gathering in large numbers? What makes you want to join them or stay away? Thinking about what you know of the stories of Jesus in the gospels, when would you have asked, “who is this” about Jesus himself?”


Ashley Haugen at Bright Peak Financial shared a nice April Fool’s post offering “10 Unorthodox ways to save money.” Check it out and have a good laugh!

Friend and “Classy Frugalist” Grace Duddy shared thoughts on “How to be a classy frugalist” by sharing “with all your heart.”

In case you missed my post from yesterday, here are some “stewardship potholes.” What other potholes would you add to the list?


Shelley Prevost wrote this post in December which was shared a lot last week, “5 Ways to Distinguish your Calling from your Ego.” If you haven’t seen it before, check it out.

Friend Hannah Heinzekehr shared, “Four more things better left unsaid.” This is good advice for life, leadership, ministry, and whatever roles and vocations you serve. Check out the list and see if you would add anything.

Friend Syd Brinkman wrote, “It’s your call.” There are important nuggets and reminders in here about vocation and calling, so take a look and see what you think.

Chapter TK pondered this past week, “What do we even mean when we say ‘change the world‘?” Give this a read, you might just find it to be call and vocation affirming for yourself and your hope for doing good in the world.

Friend and pastor Aaron Fuller shared, Six Things that he’s learned about “Multi-Vocational Ministry.” This is an important read and I hope you’ll give it some thought. There are great insights about ministry and vocation here.

David Brooks shared a post yesterday entitled, “What Suffering Does.” He connects suffering with an effect or even provision of call and purpose, and I would say vocation in a way that you don’t usually see in more popular culture and media outside of religious thought. Give this a read! If nothing else, its a nice response and challenge to the usual concept that everything is meant to “maximize happiness.”


Have you heard of the “Slow Church Movement?” If not, check this out and see what you think.

Pastor Timothy Brown shared, “The Seasons of the Church Year aren’t just for decorations, folks…” There is some good room for pause and reflection in this about liturgical seasons, their roles and importance. Perhaps this might even be a helpful resource to point to when trying to answer other people’s questions of “why do we do what we do in church and/or worship?”


The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

I bet you never expected to see a story about Rugby, North Dakota in the links. Rugby happens to be relatively close to where one portion of my family is originally from. Check it out, and see what you think of its claim to fame.

If you need another excuse to go sight see and visit Western Washington state, (at this point I am not sure why you need another reason, but if you do), how about the Skagit Tulip Festival?

If you needed any more proof that dinosaurs used to exist (and for you conspiracy theorists out there who claim they still do), check out this story about this monster 1-ton crocodile!


That will wrap up this week’s edition of the links. I hope you have enjoyed these! As always, if there are particular topics that you would like included, please let me know. Additionally, if there are particular questions that you would like me to wrestle with on the blog, please let me know that too. Until the next time, blessings on your week! -TS

Image Credits:  The Links; Social Progress Index; Honey Maid Response; and Skagit Tulip Festival.

2 thoughts on “This Week’s Links

  1. Off-blog question.

    Back when I taught management and leadership for Air Force ROTC at the University of St Thomas (1987-91), the prevailing leadership theory was Hershey and Blanchard’s Situational Leadership. At least for a year-long, terminal course for non-management majors. I see that Blanchard has refined it into Situational Leadership II (now that Hershey is dead).

    Is SitLead still a prevailing theory?


    “In quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” — Isaiah 30:15b

  2. Good question! I can’t answer definitively, but I think much of what is at the core of Situational Leadership has been picked up and adapted by other leadership theories. I never had a course or focus of study in Situational Leadership in any of my programs, but there were a number of references to some of its practices and insights. Based on a quick search, its obviously still being used though too.

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